Accuracy in Media

Chances are that you’ve heard the bizarre story of Farris Hassan, the 16-year-old Florida boy who went on an adventure in Iraq. But you may not have heard that his trip was motivated by a desire to get the truth about the war that the major media won’t provide.

Farris Hassan, who was in Iraq for several days, empathized with the plight of the Iraqis, and wanted to help. He says he wanted to hand out food, or do something through the Red Cross. It sounded like he supports the war effort, and what the U.S. is trying to accomplish. But this got lost in the excitement of his risky adventure.

Farris said that he contacted Fox News in Iraq, but they never got back to him. So he ended up with some Associated Press reporters, who then published his essay. In it he wrote that “There is a struggle in Iraq between good and evil, between those striving for freedom and liberty and those striving for death and destruction.”

While we’re on the subject of Iraq war coverage, another interesting site is MSNBC’s Baghdad Blog, which is behind the scenes reporting on what it’s like to be reporting right now from Iraq. Blogs are “Web logs,” or personal websites almost like journals, in which the bloggers follow stories of interest to them, and often link to related news stories from various websites. Some stories, like this one, are partially on the blog, and are fully reported on the MSNBC site. It tells the story of how many of our troops in Iraq are able to stay in touch with their family and friends on a daily basis, by email.

In addition, there are active-duty soldiers who have active daily blogs. In this one, for instance, the soldier gives his take on the question of body armor for the soldiers. He responds to, and links to, the recent New York Times article critical of the military and the Bush Administration for not providing what they regard as the correct amount of body armor.

These blogs are helping to change the face and the pace of journalism. There’s some hope these new avenues of communication can provide the truth the major media continue to ignore. Stay tuned.

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